Recruiting Lessons From Super Bowl Commercials

Super Bowl LI is this Sunday. Sports fans are debating the skills of the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs, while also arguing about which defense can stop the high-powered offenses of the two teams. The rest of us are talking about the commercials. This year, a 30-second commercial is reported to cost a minimum of $5 million. When you spend that kind of money for 30 seconds, you expect it to produce amazing results with a huge return on your investment.

About 112 million TV viewers watched the Super Bowl in 2016. For companies who spent $5 million on a commercial, they received huge exposure to an audience that could potentially buy their products or services. How many of those 112 million TV viewers are truly interested in buying the product or service advertised? Most likely the number is significantly less.

The concept is the same when you invest your money and time placing job ads. You want a return on that investment that yields qualified candidates. However, unlike a Super Bowl commercial, you do not want to reach 112 million people, only those who will be the right fit for your business.

Let’s take a moment to review the evolution of job ads. In the good old days, you placed an ad in the Sunday newspaper. These ads were expensive and you had to be crystal clear about the most important qualifications and fit them into the smallest number of characters possible. Essentially, it was the prehistoric version of Twitter. Then, along came the Internet and it became easier and less expensive to add more information. That’s when we got lazy. Because the Internet allowed virtually unlimited space, job descriptions and job postings became one and the same.

At the same time, the Internet made it easier for job seekers to have access to more jobs. When they had to read through eight pages of ads in tiny print in the Sunday newspaper, print resumes and cover letters on good stationery, and go to the post office and mail them, they were more selective about the jobs they applied to because it of the time and expense involved. The Internet made it free and simple for them to apply for hundreds of jobs with a few clicks.

The most talented people quickly became bored with the tedious job descriptions everyone was using. The best applicants began looking for companies who stood out from the rest.

Over time, smart recruiters realized that using job descriptions wasted too much time on unqualified applicants. Those ads generated a flood of resumes that someone had to take spend time reading to find the one or two great candidates who were worth interviewing. These smart recruiters learned that to reduce the number of unqualified applicants, they would need to think differently. That’s where marketing comes in.

Think about those Super Bowl commercials that touch your emotions. A great example is Ram Truck’s “So God Made a Farmer.” That ad made you feel something. There was nothing in the ad about the product until the last few seconds because it was designed to attract their ideal customer, a farmer. That’s exactly what you want to do with your job ads—attract your ideal candidate.

When you use a job description as your ad, you spend your time screening out unqualified candidates. That process is time consuming and often mind numbing. Who has time to read all those resumes?

When you recruit, you must think like a marketer. Think about what makes your company and your jobs attractive to your ideal candidate. What makes your company a great place to work? What are some things that might drive your ideal candidate crazy working for your competition? The answer to these questions is your basis for a job ad that will attract your ideal candidates because you understand their needs and more importantly, understand their pain.

Remember, you don’t have to win an award to be a great workplace. You will be amazed at how simple it is to attract great candidates. Here’s a quick example.

I asked an employee of one of my clients what she thought was the coolest thing about working there. It wasn’t the pay or benefits or even the working conditions like flex time or remote work options that my client offered. Her answer was taking her mother on vacation and seeing her company products used in hotels all over the world. That simple statement is recruiting gold! All of us have this gold—we just need to find and use it.
When you write job ads, are you appealing to what’s important to your candidates? Are you showing them that they can get it working for you?  Are you ready to take action to change the way you recruit? Give me a call at 1-843-779-9656 send me an email, or text MOMENTUM to 480-418-1411 to get more in-depth, step-by-step recruiting help by becoming an advance reader of my upcoming book on recruiting for small business.